What is Orzo, Rice, Grain or Pasta?

Orzo Pasta Raw

I like orzo – and I just picked up another bag as it’s coming up to the summer, so I use it a lot with cold salads mostly.  It’s a handy dish to make to add to my “salad buffet” selection I keep in the fridge for those couple of weeks a year when the sun bothers to visit.  Orzo is a very frugal and cost effective ingredient, typically costing ~£1.30/Kg – that’s 13p per portion if you’re using it with a meat sauce, curry or baked orzo recipe where the orzo is a large part of the dish.

Orzo looks like rice, but it is fact pasta.  It’s simply “just pasta” but in a different shape.  Lasagne sheets, macaroni, spaghetti – they’re all “just pasta” in different shapes – and orzo is no different.

Cooking Orzo: 

You cook orzo exactly the same as you would cook any pasta.  A pot of boiling water, with a splash of oil and a little salt, then boil/simmer until it’s al-dente.  Then serve.  You can serve it hot or cold – use it where you’d use rice.

Orzo recipes range from baking it with meat and sauces in the oven – to cold orzo mixed with flavours and ingredients to make salads.  If you can do something with rice, you could do it with orzo!

What Does Orzo Taste of?

Not much really – like all pastas, it’s “just pasta”, so you add flavours and oils to it for the dish you’re cooking.

As orzo is pasta, it’ll be pasta coloured!  In the main that means it’ll be a beige pasta colour, once cooked it’ll look like light brown rice.

A portion of orzo is roughly 75 grams per person dry/uncooked weight – but it depends how you’re using it.  When I make up a box of orzo salad, where I expect to just serve myself 2 heaped tablespoons onto a mixed salad plate, I’ll use 100 grams to give me enough for 4-5 servings.  100 grams of raw uncooked orzo will typically turn into 240 grams of cooked orzo.